Morocco’s authorities is denying stories that the nation’s safety forces might have used spy ware made by Israel’s NSO Group to snoop on the cellphones of France’s president and different public figures.
On Wednesday, the general public prosecutor’s workplace ordered an investigation into what it known as false allegations that Moroccan safety companies used NSO malware to spy on activists, journalists, and politicians in a number of international locations.
France’s prime minister mentioned Wednesday that a number of investigations had been beneath means into any wrongdoing.
Morocco’s authorities had lashed out in a press release late Tuesday at a worldwide media consortium investigating the suspected widespread use of NSO’s Pegasus spy ware to focus on journalists, human rights activists, and politicians in a number of international locations. The authorities threatened unspecified authorized motion.
French newspaper Le Monde, a member of the consortium, reported that the cellphones of President Emmanuel Macron and 15 then-members of the French authorities might have been amongst potential targets in 2019 of surveillance by Pegasus spy ware on behalf of a Moroccan safety company.
French public broadcaster Radio France reported that the telephones of Moroccan King Mohammed VI and members of his entourage had been additionally amongst potential targets.
“The Kingdom of Morocco strongly condemns the persistent false, massive and malicious media campaign,” the assertion mentioned. The authorities mentioned it “rejects these false and unfounded allegations, and challenges their peddlers … to provide any tangible and material evidence in support of their surreal stories.”
The consortium recognized the potential targets from a leaked checklist of greater than 50,000 cellphone numbers obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International.
Consortium members mentioned they had been in a position to hyperlink greater than 1,000 numbers on the checklist with people. Most had been in Mexico and the Middle East.
While a telephone quantity’s presence within the information doesn’t imply an try was made to hack a tool, the consortium mentioned it believed the information indicated potential targets of NSO’s authorities purchasers.
Also on the checklist had been telephone numbers in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Morocco, and Rwanda, in addition to ones for a number of Arab royal members of the family, heads of state and prime ministers, the consortium reported.
The Paris prosecutor’s workplace is investigating alleged use of the spy ware, and French consultants have known as for larger safety for cell telephones of outstanding officers.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex mentioned Wednesday that the president “ordered a series of investigations,” but said it was too early to comment or announce any new security measures or other action without knowing “exactly what happened.”
NSO Group denied that it ever maintained “a list of potential, past or existing targets.” It known as the Forbidden Stories report “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories.”
The supply of the leak — and the way it was authenticated – was not disclosed.